9 Philippine Festivals to Tick Off Your Bucket List

Filipinos are naturally festive. Even before the archipelago was influenced by the west, our ancestors were already celebrating impactful moments like victorious battles and bountiful harvests.

Fast forward to today, we face no shortage of exciting festivals to enjoy. If you want to explore the Philippines, a great way to fully enrich your travel is by attending festivals. The best part is, since they occur all year round, you can plan trips based on your desired Philippine fiesta.

Another advantage of matching your travel plans with festivals is that you have ample time to build a travel fund. Accordingly, you can properly budget your trip by looking for cheaper accommodations or using seat sale hacks to score affordable airfare.

But before all of that, the initial step is determining which festivals to include in your bucket list. To help you get started, we have compiled several recommendations.

Religious Celebrations in the Philippines

  • Dinagyang Festival – Iloilo

Dinagyang Festival, one of the largest Philippine festivals, is held every fourth weekend of January. This is when Iloilo transforms its streets into an extensive festival that’s open to everyone. You can sample local delicacies while enjoying the public performances of many bands.

And while you’re in the city, make the most of your trip by also visiting popular religious establishments such as Garin Farm, Jaro Cathedral, and Molo Church. If travelling to islands is your jam, Guimaras Island and Islas de Gigantes are great choices.

  • Pintados Festival – Leyte

Pintados Festival is a major celebration in Tacloban City that falls on the 29th of June. For the main attraction, locals perform street dances while showcasing their intricately inked bodies. This serves as a portrayal of the natives’ way of living before the Spaniards arrived.

After being awed by body arts and tattoos, spoil your inner foodie at Ocho Seafood Grill, then explore Sohoton Natural Bridge National Park as you burn the extra calories.

  • Moriones Festival – Marinduque

Moriones Festival happens during holy week, in either March or April, making it an ideal addition to a traveler’s pilgrimage. The celebration goes on for a week to memorialize the life of Saint Longinus, the centurion. After immersing in this religious festival, reconnect with nature in Mongpong Island, Aroma Beach or Ungab Rock Formation to do some deep contemplating.

Cultural Festivals in the Philippines 

  • Panagbenga Festival – Baguio

The Panagbenga Festival is celebrated in Baguio all throughout February, because it’s the season when flowers bloom. As such, the festival features a parade of extravagant floats, each designed with a variety of flowers. You can also expect a lot of street dancing from local performers in vibrant flower-inspired attires.

Be sure to visit some of its popular cozy cafés and restaurants such as Hill Station, The Good Taste, Balajadia Kitchenette, Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna, and Oh My Gulay.

  • Kadayawan Festival – Davao

Kadayawan Festival happens every third week of August to celebrate an abundant harvest. The streets are adorned with fresh produce such as vegetables and fruits. Ornate floats laden with flowers and natural produce also sashay down the streets. Other fun activities include boat races, horse fights, and of course, the customary Pinoy event—beauty pageants.

  • Masskara Festival – Bacolod

Masskara Festival consists of a 20-day street extravaganza complete with delicacies, dances, and various fun contests. If you can’t spend 20 days, it’s best to go on the day closest to October 19. This is when festival participants wear masks adorned with huge smiles—a suitable tradition for the “City of Smiles”.

During your stay, be sure to drop by Manokan Country for some sumptuous chicken inasal. You may also go museum-hopping in Silay City.

Food Festivals 

  • Longganisa Festival – Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Every January, the people of Vigan celebrate the existence of its longganisa, a breakfast staple and viand enjoyed in almost every Pinoy household. The Vigan longganisa is so famous that Ilokanos choose to start their year by promoting these savory links of spiced meat.

Needless to say, no Vigan trip is complete without a long stroll down the picturesque cobbled streets of Calle Crisologo, lined with intricately designed Spanish heritage houses.

  • Kesong Puti Festival – Sta. Cruz, Laguna

Kesong puti is derived from carabao’s milk, and is often wrapped and left to ferment in banana leaves. To celebrate this soft native cheese, Sta. Cruz, the main producer of kesong puti, holds many activities such as cook-offs and fun runs.

But why stop with kesong puti? Go on a full-blown gastronomic adventure in Laguna by trying out culinary specialties of ancestral-home-turned-restaurants like Aurora Food Cuisine (also in Sta. Cruz), and Café Lago in San Pablo.

  • Tuna Festival – General Santos, South Cotabato

Best known as the hometown of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, General Santos City is also the country’s leading producer of sashimi-grade tuna. Visit GenSan in September to enjoy the activities of Tuna Festival, such as a grand tuna float parade and bay cruise. To give thanks to the ocean, there’s also a large coastal clean-up headed by the locals.

After having your fill of tuna flesh, check out must-see destinations like the Sarangani Highlands Garden and Restaurant, Sanchez Peak, and Kalaja Cave.

The Takeaway

Venturing out into foreign lands is a worthwhile pursuit, but before you explore the rest of the world, it’s important to fully experience your national culture first. As people say, “ang pagtangkilik sa sariling atin” or prioritizing our own is a moral mandate for every patriotic citizen.

Now, before your plans get disregarded again, why not take advantage of the Fly now, Pay later service offered by Cashalo? By temporarily pushing aside the financial aspect of travelling, you can finally commit to your often postponed #TravelGoals.

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